HAMBURG, Germany (AP) – The German football club St. Pauli has refused the use of its stadium for a DFB Cup game because Leipzig is one of the teams involved.
Defending champions Leipzig were drawn in the first round at Hamburger FC Teutonia Ottensen.
The fourth-tier side’s 5,000-seat ground is unsuitable for the August 31 game as artificial turf isn’t allowed in the cup, so they asked their larger neighbors if they could use their Millerntor stadium to host the game.
However, St. Pauli, who play in the second division and previously played in the Bundesliga, rejected Teutonia’s application in principle against Leipzig’s business model and feared it would lead to protests if the Red Bull-backed team in his Stadium would play by their own fans.
St Pauli spokesman Patrick Gensing told The Associated Press on Friday that the club did not want to elaborate on the response he had sent to Teutonia, which was quoted at length by the Hamburger Abendblatt.
“St. As is well known, Pauli is extremely critical of the RB model because we consider it incompatible with the 50+1 rule to which we are committed,” St. Pauli wrote to Teutonia, according to Hamburger Abendblatt.
Leipzig was only founded in 2009 when Red Bull co-founder Dietrich Mateschitz, a 78-year-old Austrian billionaire, bought a local fifth division team and rebranded it with the company livery. In 2016, Red Bull financed the new team’s steady ascent through the lower leagues to the Bundesliga.
The 50+1 rule of German football is intended to prevent external investors from taking over a club by retaining most of the voting rights with the members. But Leipzig circumvents the rule by preventing regular fans from becoming voting members. All voting members are associated with the Red Bull company.
“The RB model is also strongly rejected by our fans and supporters,” wrote St. Pauli. “FC St. Pauli therefore does not want to give RB a stage beyond possible competitive games, especially not at the Millerntor, which is a symbol of solidarity and fairer football.”
It is not the first time that Leipzig has encountered resistance because of its business model. DFB Cup finalists Freiburg refused to use their crest or logo for possible joint merchandising efforts with Leipzig ahead of May’s final.
Teutonia is looking for an alternative venue for the game.
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